Using Custom Variables
Custom Variables is a PLATINUM-only feature that allows you to pass several variables through a survey link. You can take a survey link that would otherwise collect anonymous responses, and instead pass several values directly into your survey via that URL. When you analyze your results, these values will appear on the last page of the survey.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P58B9BX would collect anonymous responses,
but https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P58B9BX?Name=Douglas&Department=Research&Title=Intern would track 3 values into your survey (Name, Department, and Title), without having to ask respondents to answer those questions in the survey itself.
There is no limit on the number of variables you can add, but keep universal URL length limitations in mind. The general rule is to keep URLs under 2000 characters to maintain functionality with popular web browsers.
Who should use Custom Variables?
If it's not feasible to use an email invitation collector or simply ask respondents their custom information; you can insert this information for tracking purposes directly into the URL. This feature is primarily used for companies using panelists that do their analysis external to SurveyMonkey. For the average SurveyMonkey user, there are limitations to consider:
- Filtering on custom variables is a bit more difficult than using close-ended questions because they're collected as open-ended questions. Again, this is optimal for users that do heavy-duty analysis in their own tools like SPSS or Excel.
- If using your own custom scripts or SPSS for analysis isn't something you're comfortable with, we recommend using close-ended questions or demographic questions to obtain the same information in the body of the survey. See more about tracking respondents.
Setting Up Custom Variables
You can set up custom variables under the Survey Options portion on the Design Survey tab. Here's how:
- From your Design Survey page, click Survey Options.
- Scroll down to Add Custom Variables, and click Add Custom Variables.
You'll be prompted to enter a Custom Variable Name and a Custom Variable Label:
- The Custom Variable Name will appear in the URL string itself, so keep these short and space-free.
- The Custom Variable Label will appear in your analysis, so this is a descriptive place for you to keep track what the field means.
- There's no limit to the number of variables or labels, but the maximum URL length as a whole can only be 2048 characters due to respondent browser specifications.
- Enter your values, and click Apply for each variable.
- Copy the URL string from Your Survey Link.
- Click Save.
Using our first example, https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P58B9BX will be listed as [SurveyLink]?Name=[Name_value]&Department=[Department_value]&Title=[Title_value]
Analyzing Results Using Custom Variables
The values you insert into your URL string will be appended to your results on a new page. For example, if you have a 2 page survey, the values you used for variables will be added as a 3rd page of open-ended responses. To view these responses:
- Click Analyze Results corresponding to your survey with responses collected.
- Under "View All" or "View Page", scroll to the last page on the list.
- This is the page that will house all the unique variables that were entered for respondents that took the survey.
- Notice that your Label value is now displayed as the question text.
Exporting Custom Variable Data
Only the All Responses Collected export will include custom variable data.
Some Variable Names are Excluded
This feature permits just about any custom variable name; but there are a few that we already use in our system. The ones we already utilize aren't allowed to be appended using this feature: